After numerous delays, the saga of Lady Mechanika finally continues. But will Issue 2 prove to be worth the 7 month wait?
Credits & Solicit Info:
Creator, Writer and Artist: Joe Benitez
Colorist: Peter Steigerwald
Letterist: Josh Reed
(Covers by Joe Benitez, Peter Steigerwald and Ale Garza)
Last time, a before unseen player left Lady Mechanika in a position of weakness. Even if she does recover in enough time to escape a potential catastrophe, the question of how this new element affects the game going forward still needs answering.
Make no mistake; producing a Creator Owned Work in this Industry can be quite a balancing act. Depending on how much responsibility a person has a string of bad luck could be disastrous to the project in question. Originally, scheduled for February, Lady Mechanika #2 would end up slipping to July due to issues in Joe Benitez's family, meaning that this project as whole could've easily flirted with such circumstances. Fortunately, the worst case scenario of such a delay was never realized, as anticipation continued to build towards this week's release. With such hype going into this, was there any way that Lady Mechanika #2 can live up to such expectations? Let's take a look see, shall we?
Without question, the one aspect of "Lady Mechanika" that makes people stand up and take notice is the beyond impressive art that each issue possesses. In fact, the art is so amazing, that it would be quite easy for readers to forgive the creative team for having the writing and story take a back seat. Fortunately, this creative team continues to prove that they're a breed apart and puts just as much (if not more) effort into these two important aspects.
The one that is hard to ignore about Lady Mechanika #2 is how densely written this comic is. Completely unafraid of words, the latest chapter of "Lady Mechanika" makes readers pay attention to the story being written. Of course, just being densely written is not cause for celebration, as the work runs the risk of being wordy without purpose, a trap that this comic skillfully avoids. The best example of this lies in the conversation that Lady Mechanika and Commander Winter engage in, which ends up working on several levels including...
1) Showing the reader how these two came to know each other.
2) Giving the reader a few good indicators as to why Lady Mechanika and Commander Winter have come to hate each other so much.
3) Helping to further establish character motivations (something that this book excels at) as light is shed on another reason why Mechanika acts the way she acts.
4) Giving the reader a very good read on the difference between Lady Mechanika and Commander Winter as characters up to this point
5) Building up to their next confrontation, which should be extra bitter given how this one ended up.
6) Feeling like a conversation that these two characters would be having, period.
Beyond those 6 reasons, another reason why this conversation works is simply because getting all of this out there is quite a refreshing change from how rivalries like this are usually orchestrated in this medium. With all of this stuff out there, the reader is no longer just concerned with how things ended up like this, but where this rivalry will end up going in the future. With so much attention being paid to what can be considered regressive storytelling in this medium; the progressive storytelling techniques used here make it quite easy to get over my initial misgivings about this exchange.
Speaking of misgivings, another aspect of the story that needs to be mentioned is the new player that officially entered into the game this issue. The reason why this disappointed me so much was the fact that with all the refreshing things the writer has done with this work so far, it feels a bit underwhelming that they went with this route. That being said, this development helps to give the story a central focus by adding a shared sense of urgency to both Lady Mechanika and the Blackpool Armaments Company. Also, there is still plenty that can be done to make said cliché refreshing making this gripe mostly invalid. Still, if a personal gripe can serve as a positive, then there's no other option but to give the job done on the writing and story my personal seal of approval.
In what is becoming a repeated song and dance (which will be happily repeated over and over again) Lady Mechanika #2 also possesses art with very few equals. That being said, I want to give special props to the overall art management of work at large. For starters, Lady Mechanika #2 possess some of the best layout and panel management that I've ever seen in comics as each of these aspects lend themselves well to the amazing visuals that both serve the story and the overall aesthetic of the book. Character emotions and details continue to shine beautifully as they transport the readers into the setting that the book presents. Just another masterful job by everyone involved.
The Final 22 Cents:
In many ways Lady Mechanika #2 had unfair expectations thrust upon its back, due to the fact that it's nearly impossible for a comic that's been delayed 7 months to live up to the hype that builds up due to sheer anticipation. If this book were merely good, I would definitely congratulate the team on a job well done. However, Lady Mechanika #2 lives up to both the anticipation and the standards. Despite the various small misgivings, this issue is without a doubt another good reason for the curious to get on board while the elevator is still on the ground floor. The wait for Issue # 3 will be quite a tough one, which will be tempered by both the excellent comics and the Cosplay that it shall inspire.
Writing/Story ****: With such an intriguing story and near flawless character work, Lady Mechanika's writing shines through a questionable writing choice that may end up not being so questionable.
Art *****: It's Lady Mechanika and Art, what else do you need to know at this point?
Accessibility ****3/4: Whether its and engaging story, excellent art pieces or just Cosplay material, "Lady Mechanika" continues to offer something for everyone
Final Judgment: ****1/4 (Stupendous)
Review by: Linwood Earl Knight